There’s been some confusion over what exactly Labour’s £28 billion-a-year borrowing plan is, and when the target will be achieved as the time-table changes depending who in the Shadow Cabinet is talking and to whom. During a Q&A at an event at the billionaire Lord Sainsbury funded think-tank, the Centre for Progressive Policy, Ed Miliband was asked whether he denies the claim that the £28 billion would be “watered down“. Miliband retorted that the party “was very clear” that the £28 billion-every-year target would be hit in the second half of the next parliament under a Labour government, claiming the party’s position hasn’t changed since Rachel Reeves’s revised announcement of the policy in June. At the time, she also said she took the decision to scale back the Green Prosperity Plan as a result of the poor state of the economy.
Of late we have seen a Shadow minister claim that the policy may not happen until a second term Labour government. The question referred to a senior Labour source briefing the BBC suggesting the target may never be reached. Miliband derided the media coverage of the plans, saying, “I’m old enough to know you don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers or online.” The media has simply been reporting what their Labour Party sources tell them. Does he mean don’t believe what his party says?
After yesterday’s announcement that the government would issue hundreds of new oil and gas licences in the North Sea, Guido wasn’t surprised to see outrage from Just Stop Oil and their political wing. Ed Miliband was quick out the gates: he slammed the “weak and confused policy” and promised a “phased and responsible transition in the North Sea”. In the same press release the Labour Party warned of the “dangers” of prioritising new oil and gas, warning that it would contribute to “climate disaster”. You would think reversing this “failed” policy would be the priority of any incoming Labour administration…
Yet, once again, Labour couldn’t back up their words were action. On Newsnight yesterday, Thangam Debbonaire was asked if a Labour administration would revoke the new licences. Thangam couldn’t commit to reversing the policy, only going as far as to say:
“We will grant no new licences”.
As Kirsty Wark put it, this leaves Labour pursuing “exactly the same strategy” as the government. The very same “weak and confused” strategy supposedly contributing to “climate disaster”…
It’s festival season and our elected officials aren’t letting their parliamentary duties stop them from making the most of it. According to the latest register of interests, seven Labour MPs, including two Shadow Cabinet members, registered expenses-paid trips to Glastonbury – to the tune of £13,500. These were: Ed Miliband, Louise Haigh, Alex Sobel, Kevin Brennan, Darren Jones, Clive Lewis and Mark Tami. All registered their donations across days in the working week and man of the people Clive Lewis was the only name on the list not to take up hospitality tickets. Ed Davey also had a good month, in addition to getting two all-inclusive Glasto tickets worth £2,462, he also registered £36,500 in donations. Will that be made out to his personal services company?
Whilst Labour MPs lived it up in Glasto, cricket appeared to be the preferred summer pass time for Conservatives. James Daly, James Morris, Bob Blackman and Michael Tomlinson all took a trip to the Netherlands with the APPG for cricket, worth a combined £5,000, whilst Claire Coutinho, Ruth Edwards and Andrew Griffith raked in £1,200 in Ashes hospitality tickets. It wouldn’t be a register of interests update without yet more Prime Ministerial plane bills. This time, Rishi’s donor-funded jet-setting amounted to a measly £55,000.
It’s been 22 years to the day since John Prescott sucker punched an agricultural worker in the face. Moments after the Prescott Express bus had touched down in Rhyl, the then-deputy Prime Minister was struck by a stray egg as he made his way through a demonstration against low agricultural wages and Labour’s support for a fox hunting ban. Wouldn’t happen with today’s egg shortages…
Prescott spun nimbly on his heels and unleashed a sublime left jab towards 29-year-old Craig Evan’s mouth, kicking off an almighty brawl. Refusing to apologise when urged to do so by pacifist Alastair Campbell, Prescott later told Tony Blair:
“I was just carrying out your orders. You told us to connect with the electorate, so I did.”
Other famous egged politicians include David Cameron in Saltash in 2010, George Galloway after his Bradford West by-election victory in 2012, Ruth Kelly outside Salford Magistrates’ Court in 2006 and BNP leader Nick Griffin in 2009. More recently, Nigel Farage has been egged in Nottingham and was notoriously doused in banana and salted caramel milkshake in Newcastle on 20 May 2019. Ed Miliband has had his fair share of egg on his face, from eating breakfast sandwiches, fallout from the Ed Stone, and when egged in Southampton in 2012 and South London in 2013. All a poultry price to pay for publicity.
Current Heavyweight Champion of Westminster, Lee Anderson, has been engaged in a heated rivalry with protestor Steve Bray. In the latest round of the grudge match, the pair dealt verbal blows over showering and charity, while a notable spat came when Anderson stole Bray’s hat in round seven. Both are proving hard eggs to crack in what has become a grudge match for the ages.
Speaking on GMB this morning, Diane Abbott took a principled stance against Keir Starmer’s chicanery. The former Shadow Home Secretary questioned Starmer’s decision to block Jeremy Corbyn from standing at the next election:
“Keir Starmer put a motion in front of the NEC to bar Jeremy as a candidate, but that motion said nothing about antisemitism. It said that because Jeremy had lost the 2019 election he couldn’t run. Well, really, if you stop people being MPs because they lose elections, why is Ed Miliband still an MP?”
She also claimed that if Corbyn decides to stand as an independent in Islington “he will win”.
Diane’s comments on Ed Miliband come in the context of Labour’s legalistic justification for blocking Corbyn put forward at the NEC – based on his electoral performance and not antisemitism. Starmer’s motion states that the party’s “standing with the electorate in the country, and its electoral prospects in seats it is required to win in order to secure a parliamentary majority and/or win the next general election, are both significantly diminished should Mr Corbyn be endorsed”.
As Ann Black points out for Labour List, “the motion was fundamentally dishonest, because the reasons given for blocking Corbyn’s candidacy were not the real reasons”. It’s one rule for Comrade Corbyn and another for Red Ed…